TUKWILA, Wash. — Marcus Hahnemann knew when he signed with the Seattle Sounders that it was to be as a backup.
The former United States international had enjoyed a decorated career that included more than 300 professional appearances for some of England’s most storied clubs and just wanted a chance to play for his hometown team.
As fate would have it, he’ll be called back into duty just as the Sounders need him most. With starting goalkeeper Michael Gspurning suspended, Hahnemann will get the start against Santos Laguna in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals on Tuesday (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com).
“This is why I’m here,” Hahnemann said on the latest episode of MLSsoccer.com's ExtraTime Radio podcast. “I’m not here to train and take shots with guys after practice. Putting on the Sounders shirt in front of my family and friends and all the people who have been rooting for me since the ‘90s, this is what it’s about.”
Hahnemann returned to the Sounders last season after spending 13 seasons in England, bringing him back to the club where he started his professional career back in 1994 when they were part of the A-League.
Although Hahnemann had not started regularly for a couple years, the Sounders felt as though he could provide some important depth.
“He’s played in a lot of big games,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He knows what big occasions are, he knows the importance of them. He’s a quality goalkeeper. That’s why we signed him.”
This will be Hahnemann’s second competitive appearance with the Sounders and his first since last year’s CCL group stage match against Marathón, a game that came after a spot in the knockout round had already been clinched.
He hopes to make the most of it.
“For myself, every time I get to put on the shirt, it has huge meaning,” Hahnemann said. “Now all of a sudden it’s Champions League … it’s a huge deal. Tigres was the first time a US team has ever gotten past a Mexican team in a two-game series. Hopefully we’ll make it another time.”